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Curriculum intent: how to identify yours
As part of the new Ofsted framework, you should be able to identify your curriculum intent. Learn what this is, how to articulate yours, and see examples from schools of curriculum intent statements.
- Identify your intent
- Examples of intent statements
This article is for you if:
- You have a curriculum you like and that works for your pupils
- You haven't defined/articulated your curriculum intent before
If you think your curriculum needs redevelopment, or aren't confident that your existing curriculum intent is fit for purpose, we've got more guidance coming for you in the coming weeks.
Identify your intent
How Ofsted defines curriculum 'intent'
As part of the proposed 2019 inspection framework, Ofsted will use a new 'quality of education' measure. This measure will take into account your educational intent.
Ofsted created a working definition for 'intent':
A framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage ...
Find that definition here, under 'Focusing on the curriculum'.
There's no such thing as a 'good', 'bad', or 'Ofsted-approved' curriculum intent (because this will depend on your school's context).
Read more about the 2019 inspection framework and what it means for your curriculum here.
Think about these questions to help you identify/articulate your intent
- What are the objectives for your curriculum? What do you want pupils to be able to know and do by the time they leave?
- How does your curriculum plan set out the sequence and structure of how it's going to be implemented?
- Why is it shaped the way it is? What values have guided your decisions about the curriculum you have in place? How does your curriculum reflect your school's context?
- To what extent have you made these objectives clear? Does everybody know them?
- How does your curriculum reflect national policy (for example, British values and PSHE)?
- How does it cater for disadvantaged and minority groups? Make sure these pupils aren't 'shut out' of pursuing subjects they wish to study because of too sharp a focus on exam results
These questions are taken from our article on the 2019 Ofsted inspection framework, which you should read if you're reviewing your intent statement as part of preparing for this new framework.
Create a statement
There's no requirement to have a written curriculum intent statement on your website, but it's a good idea.
Having a written statement, and adding it to curriculum documents, shows Ofsted you're on the ball and helps make sure all staff know what your curriculum intent is.
See the examples below for ideas about how to write your own statement.
Examples of intent statements
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Dorset has published an overview of its curriculum intent.
- The school's commitment to providing a Catholic education
- How the curriculum is adapted to the school's context
- Pastoral support in the curriculum
Gawthorpe Community Academy in Wakefield has a curriculum intent statement on its website.
It sets out information about how the curriculum is designed to be inclusive and raise aspirations.
It also covers the role of subject leaders in the academy.
Ark Walworth Academy in Southwark includes its strategic intent within its curriculum aims.
The strategic intent consists of 4 key points.
It refers to enabling students to achieve high standards, and enabling all pupils to experience success.
Bishop Luffa School, a secondary academy in Chichester, sets out its 'curriculum intent and vision' on the school website.
It reflects the school's religious character and the school's desire for the curriculum to be "broad, balanced, relevant, and personalised".
The website then sets out the school's curriculum approach for Key Stages 3 to 5.
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